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Colon Screening


This endoscopic procedure should be used to evaluate your large intestine if you
experience abdominal pain, bleeding, or a change in bowel habits. It may also be necessary
if you’ve been diagnosed with anemia. Enabling a physician to view the interior of the colon,
the exam can detect polyps that can be biopsied or removed, while bleeding lesions can be
controlled as well.

Testing can find colon cancer early and help prevent it. Most men and women who are at
average risk for developing colorectal cancer should be screened, starting at age 50 and
every 10 years thereafter. There are other colon screen tests as well, including CT
colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and double-contrast barium enema. Fecal
immunochemical tests, guaiac-based fecal occult blood tests, and stool DNA tests can noninvasively detect cancer.

Screening is so important as it:

  • Enables physicians to remove polyps before they become malignant—small polyps
    can take 5 to 10 years to develop into cancer.
  •  The sooner and earlier colorectal cancer is diagnosed, the better your chances of a
    better quality of life and a longer survival rate.
  •  A doctor can diagnose other conditions and treat them, further improving your colon
    health and reducing your risk of cancer.

If you have a personal history of ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and other inflammatory
bowel diseases, or a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, colon screening should
start before age 50. If a direct relative such as a parent was affected, get your first
screening 10 years before the onset of their condition.